Stolen by Kelley Armstrong
Reading level: Ages 18 and up
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages
Publisher: Plume (US) / Random House (Canada)
Release date: December 24th 2002
Series: Women of the Otherworld #2
Source: Personal shelf
Reviewed by: Tynga
It was in Bitten, Kelley Armstrong’s debut novel, that thirty-year-old Elena Michaels came to terms with her feral appetites and claimed the proud identity of a beautiful, successful woman —and the only living female werewolf.
In Stolen, on a mission for her own elite pack, she is lured into the net of ruthless Internet billionaire Tyrone Winsloe, who has funded a bogus scientific investigation of the “other races” and their supernatural powers. Kidnapped and studied in his underground lab deep in the Maine woods, these paranormals—witches, vampires, shamans, werewolves—are then released and hunted to the death in a real-world video game. But when Winsloe captures Elena, he finally meets his match.
After her adventures in Bitten, Elena Michaels decided to stay with her pack once more. Doing so implies having some duties and it’s during one of those “errands” that she will run into some serious trouble. Getting-you-kidnapped-and-locked-up kind of trouble. Elena faced a lot of challenges in her short life, and this one is kind of new, but she is determined to get out, and make them all pay the high price.
Stolen is the second book in the Women of the Otherworld series, and also the second book featuring Elena the werewolf. While I enjoyed the first book, the world building and back story, even though essential, weighted down the story for me, but in Stolen, I was blessed with the full impact of Kelley Armstrong’s great storytelling.
Now that we know Elena and her past, it was amazing to follow her adventures and witness her progress. She was center stage in this installment because she finds herself alone, in some kind of research facility, locked-up in a cell, with no one to count on but herself. Her wits and personality gets to shine brightly in this stripped-bare environment and I really enjoyed it. Of course she’s not completely alone, there are other supernatural prisoners around her and her interactions with them were quite a show. Whom to trust? Who can she use to get out? Can she save to poor teen witch also sequestered? How far is she willing to go, bending her morals, to get out of there alive? The psychological element was important and while it could sound boring, let me tell you that nothing is ever boring with Elena Michaels!
I truly enjoyed the plotline for this novel. You, of course, have the main plotline around Elena, her capture and her attempts at freedom, but on the other side of this same line, if I may say, there’s Clay working on the outside, trying to locate and rescue her, working with a wide range of diverse supernatural creatures even though it doesn’t please him and he doesn’t trust them. The 500ish pages book could scare away some readers, but the magic with Kelley’s writing is that everything is flowing and fast-paced and you really don’t realize there are so many pages because you are simply enthralled.
The direction Armstrong took with this book introduced a whole new world to the readers. The first book, Bitten, was all about werewolves, but in Stolen, we realize there are many other races out there. The races we met in this installment were introduced smoothly, if briefly, and I think it sets the table for the following books, as the narrator won’t be Elena anymore (at least not for a couple of books, I gathered).
The conclusion was really exciting, which is always to be expected from Kelley Armstrong. The main plot line tied-up nicely, yet there are still a few loose threads that might catch-up onto our characters in the coming books. I find myself looking forward to the next installment, Dime Store Magic, which features Paige, a witch we just met.
Kelley Armstrong is a head figure and a leader in the Urban Fantasy world and I would strongly suggest you pick up her books. The Woman of the Otherworld series is coming the an end this summer, so there’s no better time to read all the books without all the painful waiting between releases! Also, her YA series are definitely worth a shot if you like this genre as well.